Ethnicity and the Writing of Medieval Scottish history

Hammond, M.H. (2006) Ethnicity and the Writing of Medieval Scottish history. Scottish Historical Review, 85(1), pp. 1-27.



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Historians have long tended to define medieval Scottish society in terms of interactions between ethnic groups. This approach was developed over the course of the long nineteenth century, a formative period for the study of medieval Scotland. At that time, many scholars based their analysis upon scientific principles, long since debunked, which held that medieval 'peoples' could only be understood in terms of 'full ethnic packages'. This approach was combined with a positivist historical narrative that defined Germanic Anglo-Saxons and Normans as the harbingers of advances of Civilisation. While the prejudices of that era have largely faded away, the modern discipline still relies all too often on a dualistic ethnic framework. This is particularly evident in a structure of periodisation that draws a clear line between the 'Celtic' eleventh century and the 'Norman' twelfth. Furthermore, dualistic oppositions based on ethnicity continue, particularly in discussions of the law, kingship, lordship and religion.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Ethnicity, medieval Scotland, historiography, Celtic Scotland, Normans
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hammond, Dr Matthew
Authors: Hammond, M.H.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Scottish Historical Review
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
ISSN (Online):1750-0222
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2006 Edinburgh University Press
First Published:First published in The Scottish Historical Review 85(1):1-27
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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